I suppose we are in the minority now, but there are still some of us who preach on the saints of the church. Their names show up on liturgical calendars with a little “W” beside them if they died of natural causes or a little “R” if they were martyrs. This tells the clergy what color to wear at the small midweek services where their lives are remembered.
Several years ago, when my wife and I were living in Pittsburgh for most of a year, we set out to attend worship in a church where a friend was the pastor. We had never been there before, but I knew the general direction and thought I could find it. Pittsburgh is a city built on hills at the conjunction of three rivers. Few of the streets go in a straight line for very long.
Jonesboro, Paducah, Springfield. These towns have become synonymous with random youth killings in schools. Close to two dozen people have been killed in school shootings over the past two years, many more have been injured, and thousands have been emotionally scarred by the trauma.
It was memorial Day, and I was sitting in the church of General George S. Patton. Well, it was not quite his church, but his family had erected a monument to him in the churchyard and smuggled in a stained-glass window depicting an object or two dear to the general’s heart and indispensable for the general’s trade.